Do People Change?
My view is no, people do not change. You can neither turn a fish into a bird that flies great distances high in the sky nor a bird into a fish that swims deep in the ocean.
How many, seriously, how many divorces happen because one or both parties insist that the other party changes their personality or style?
We are what we are. It is genetically determined. Research done in Denmark followed babies from birth for twenty years to see if their PAEI personality style (1) could be determined when they are still babies.
The researchers concluded that it can.
(P) babies are busy looking at what is in front of them. They will pick up your glasses and study them. (A) babies do not smile. They watch you closely. They cry if you insist on getting too close. The (E) baby does not even look at you. They are looking around at everything else, jumping from one point of interest to the next. The (I) baby is ready to move to your hands and smiles easily.
A French doctor that I met specializes in alternative medicine and treats people according to their PAEI style, which he claims is driven by different glands: (P) by the adrenal gland, (A) by the pituitary gland, (E) by the thyroid gland and (I) by the hypothalamus’ secretion of dopamine. We are born with different levels of activity in each gland, which does not drastically change, and thus neither does our personality.
We can improve. We can learn. We can communicate and work together to relate better to people who are different from us, but we cannot change the essence of who we are.
Now, the question is what to do with a person who refuses to learn, refuses to improve.
They are just a bad apple in a relationship. You give them a chance to learn, to grow. If they refuse to learn and grow, you should go your separate ways.
The Adizes Institute does not try to change people’s leadership style: make an (E) or (P) into an (I), for instance. We can take a person with small (I) and enrich it, make it grow. We are into style enrichment, not style change, and we serve those people who want to improve. Not everyone, only those who want to grow to be better.
We take as clients those that can be winners and give them the tools they need to win. As they grow, the company grows. Personal stagnation leads to corporate stagnation.
1 Please read Ichak Adizes: Management/Mismanagement Styles (available from The Adizes Institute Bookstore or Amazon)
Ichak Kalderon Adizes
Founder of Adizes Institute Worldwide